New York City’s Freedom Tower, built on the site of the former World Trade Center, is now open. For many of us who remember the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and survivors of that terrible day, the construction of this new skyscraper is a symbol of the United States enduring and thriving despite the threat of terrorism.
But another legacy of the Freedom Tower may be a series of dangerous construction accidents that cause serious injury to dozens of workers. The Daily News reports that there were 34 cases of serious worker injury during the years of construction on the World Trade Center site that were not reported to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
These incidents left workers with what could be permanently disability. In one case, the scaffold a worker was standing on collapsed, causing him to fall 20 feet. Another worker was struck by a steel plate. In another case, a 60-pound bundle of rebar hit a worker in the head.
There were more construction accidents that did get reported to OSHA. They include two deaths: a 2003 incident where a worker was crushed by an aerial lift, and a 2004 accident where an apprentice carpenter fell 21 stories. The federal agency fined subcontractors thousands of dollars in both cases.
Even when construction workers survive an accident, they may not be able to return to work for a long time, maybe years. They may need to turn to workers’ compensation to make up for their lost income.